The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Bernard D. Nossiter ’47 Lectures

Journalist Karin Pettersson on Disrupted Discourse in the Media Landscape

On May 15, 2017, Karin Pettersson gave the Bernard D. Nossiter ’47 lecture on the challenges that traditional media outlets and democracy in a broader sense, face in a period of intense political polarization as encapsulated in far right-wing populist movements. Pettersson discussed the perfect storm formed by the transformation of the media landscape and the ascension of right-wing populism in Europe and the United States, combined with the vulnerabilities these changes have revealed. Considering this volatile environment, Pettersson also addressed the ways in which journalists and citizens can meet this growing challenge.

Although Pettersson’s work as a political editor-in-chief now concerns right-wing populist movements and the changing landscape of journalism, her initial academic pursuits were actually in the field of economics. Even Pettersson’s studies in economics, however, contained elements of writing as exemplified by her early summer internship in writing about macroeconomics.

Nossiter Lecture: Chemical Nation by Journalist Mariah Blake

Big industries have more autonomy than ever in determining the chemical composition of their products, sometimes at the risk of consumer safety. Recent controversy has erupted over the presence of potentially harmful chemicals like synthetic estrogen in plastic products such as toddler sippy cups, despite the producers’ claims that they create no health risks to consumers. With producers’ commercial interests representing their first priority, how can consumers be certain that potential exposure to chemicals will cause them no harm?

Public Program: Q&A with Henry Chu, London Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times

Before the Bernard D. Nossiter '47 Lecture, "Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Europe in Crisis," with Henry Chu on Monday, May 11, Courtney Wong '15 sat down with Henry Chu for an interview.

The London Bureau Chief for the Los Angeles Times, Henry Chu has traveled all over the world, reporting from various countries about unique stories of the human condition. He has reported from more than 30 countries for the Los Angeles Times alone and has covered Europe since 2008. In addition to London, he has also been posted in Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, and New Delhi. Having received his B.A. from Harvard University, Chu returned to his alma mater 25 years later as a fellow at the Nieman Foundation for Journalism.



Los Angeles Times London Bureau Chief Henry Chu speaks on the future of the European Union. Photo by Abigail Chen '17.

Courtney Wong (CW): After having been to so many countries, do you have a favorite place to travel?

Pop-Up Learning: How Technology is Changing and Challenging College with Jeff Young

For current full-time residential students, it’s difficult to imagine what it’s like to learn in a classroom without a teacher. However, this is where the state of higher education is currently headed: to massive open online courses, or MOOCs. Jeffrey R. Young, a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, as well as a technology editor for the Chronicle of Higher Education, is an expert on MOOCs and shared with us his knowledge of them in his lecture entitled, “Pop-Up Learning: How Technology is Changing and Challenging College.”

PolitTALK with Journalist Souad Mekhennet


On Monday, May 8th, New York Times columnist Souad Mekhennet spoke to students about her experience working in the Middle East over lunch.  A German reporter of Turkish and Moroccan descent, Mekhennet has covered conflicts and terrorist groups in Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. With recent events escalating in Syria, it was very interesting to listen to Mekhennet's opinions about a post-Arab Spring world.  




Mekhennet discussed with students about her recent reporting in Bahrain, where her goal was to tell the stories of women and other minority groups.  She wanted to investigate the silenced majority in the region and their thoughts on the recent protests.  Bridget Golob '14, a student participant in the lunch, commented, "Getting to talk in an informal setting with Souad Mekhennet was fantastic. She shared a lot about her on-the-ground experiences, her thoughts about the future of women's rights and democratic values in the Middle East, and about her role as a reporter and not a biased observer."

Souad Mekhennet: "Observations about the World after the Arab Spring" in Rockefeller 003 at 4:30 PM, May 6th


Souad Mekhennetis a German reporter and columnist of Turkish and Moroccan descent who works for The New York Times, Der Spiegel and ZDF (German television). Since 9/11, she has covered conflicts and terrorist groups in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. Mekhennet helped report the “Inside the Jihad” series for the Times and together with her colleague Don van Natta, broke the story of Khaled el-Masri, a German-Lebanese man who had been kidnapped and sent via extraordinary rendition to Afghanistan. She previously reported for The Washington Post and is the co-author of two books about Islam and terrorism, which were published in Germany. Mekhennet will study how the uprisings in Arab countries in 2011 have influenced the long-term strategies of terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and how Shariah (Islamic law) deals with human rights, women and democracy. She is the 2013 Barry Bingham Jr. Nieman Fellow. Bingham, a 1956 Harvard graduate, was the editor and publisher of the Courier-Journal and Louisville Times

"The Fine Line Between Science and Politics" on May 14th at 4:30 PM



The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences